Wednesday, September 24, 2008

A little heresy

I know I'm not the only person to feel this way, and I'm certainly not the only person who has posted about it on a blog. I knit the Baby Surprise Jacket, and while I find the esteemed Ms. Elizabeth Zimmermann to be brilliant, I find her directions somewhat lacking.

BSJ- angle

Given the directions in "The Opinionated Knitter", Ms. Zimmermann urges the knitter to trust her and just go with the flow. Except this: my flow? Wasn't going so much. The way I knit, I like precision, and I don't like fudging. I found myself doing a little fudge here and there to keep things correct. In the end, you can't tell that, but given the way I
like to work- it made me uncomfortable.

I know that Ms. Zimmermann is the patron saint of knitters everywhere. I just don't think one should need a spreadsheet in order to knit a simple, garter, baby sweater. It just feels wrong.

I mentioned on the podcast that I'm not really pleased with where the colors fell. One of our listeners on Ravelry reminded me that it's no knock against the color, it's just too subtle for a kids' garment. Given the day-glo stuff that I typically knit for my friends' kids, it's no wonder that I feel compelled to push this one down to the bottom of a "gifts for
people" chest.

I've decided empirical evidence is necessary to solve the "Do I hate this sweater?" dilemma. I'll knit another one, in a bright colorway, and then decide if I still hate it.


But I still hate garter stitch. Always and forever.


  1. It turned out quite cute! I confess to being another heretic. I have never knit an EZ pattern and, although I admire her immensely, don't really have much desire to do so. :)

  2. I liked the idea of the BSJ when I finished mine. But I think calling what EZ wrote a "pattern" is a misnomer. I hated those instructions so vehemently that I rewrote the entire thing afterward.

    And what bothers me most is that tens of thousands of people have had to waste their time deciphering EZ's instructions because of how copyright works. Quite clearly the BSJ should have detailed instructions and alternatives collected in a publication, or if the publisher is not going to do that, the pattern should be released into the public domain so a wiki can be assembled with all the collected information.

    When I did mine, I "unvented" a button idea where I used elastic beading cord to fasten the buttons back to back, then merely buttoned them through so the jacket was truly reversible. Only to discover after I laboriously created this idea that many people have done so previously.

    The problem with EZ is that she turned in brilliant ideas with half-assed notes about them and called those notes "patterns", then got a lot of oomph behind her so her legacy is defended by a slew of lawyers. The BSJ is a great idea. No question. EZ herself may have been a brilliant knitter who did a lot to promote the craft. Her "patterns" are horrible.

    My experience with EZ's work is that anything else would be a better use of my time because those are not patterns, they are deliberately cryptic procedure descriptions designed to prevent the wider discourse while claiming to share a "scientfic discovery" method.

  3. Wow--fellow heretics! Who knew?

    And Jasmin, garter is for torturing wholly innocent knitters.

  4. Nope you are not the only one that has ummm, made comment on EZ pattern or lack there of... Me a while ago
    I am not sure if I got 7 years of bad luck now or not!?!?

  5. As soon as I can find the camera, I'll post a picture of my really, really bright BSJ that I too, just finished!

  6. I'm with you on this one! My BSJ turned out horribly! Yours is much nicer.


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